Have You Seen This "Vehicle of Interest" in Northern Colorado Shootings?
An artist's rendering of the "vehicle of interest" cited by the task force looking into shootings and shatterings in northern Colorado. Photos, videos and more below.
Larimer County Sheriff's Office
Update: The task force looking into a series of shootings and window shatterings in northern Colorado has released a sketch, seen above, of what is being described as a "vehicle of interest" in the case.
But jumping to conclusions about this development is inadvisable.
A truck of this description was seen in the vicinity of a newly revealed shooting near where William "Bill" Connole was slain in Loveland on the evening of June 3.
But Connole's murder still hasn't been definitively linked to the killing of John Jacoby in Windsor, the serious wounding of Cori Romero as she drove along Interstate 25 or any of the window shatterings that have taken place in the northern Colorado area during recent months.
A Facebook photo of Bill Connole.
According to the Larimer County Sheriff's Office, which is coordinating the release of information along with the multi-agency task force, an individual was shot at on the night of the 3rd in the vicinity of Denver Avenue and East Eisenhower Boulevard in Loveland.
This area is approximately two miles from the spot where Connole was killed — East 1st Street and St. Louis Avenue.
Law enforcers looking into these incidents subsequently "have been able to develop what they believe to be a depiction of a vehicle of interest based on several interviews and canvasses during the investigation," the LCSO reveals.
The ride in question is thought to be a 1970s model, full-size, single cab Chevrolet or GMC pickup with a full-size bed, painted orange except for black primer on the body of the driver's side door.
Those with information about the vehicle are encouraged to call the task force tip line, 970-498-5595, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. A reward of $20,000 is being offered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the case.
Look below to see a Fox31 report about the latest developments, followed by our previous coverage.
Update, 6:55 a.m. June 19: Earlier this week, we told you about a truck whose window shattered on I-25 in the Westminste r area — an incident that raised concerns that the rash of such incidents, and the possibility of their linkage to a pair of homicides and a non-fatal shooting in Larimer County, could be moving closer to metro Denver. See our previous coverage below.
Officers in Larimer County investigate a late April shattering. Additional photos and more below.
Now, the leaders of a task force looking into these events has shared a letter with the public maintaining that there's no evidence that the shatterings and killings are connected — and taking the media to task for panicking the public.
The letter, on view below in its entirety, was issued under the names of Windsor Police Chief John Michaels, Loveland Police Chief Luke Hecker, Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith and Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams.
The missive begins with references to the shocking nature of violent and seemingly random crime, the experience of the law enforcers looking into the assorted cases and outreach to the FBI after seeing similarities to the wounding of Milliken's Cori Romero (she was shot in the neck) and the slaying of Windsor's John Jacoby (he was apparently riding his bike when he was gunned down).
Shortly thereafter, William "Bill" Connole was slain near an intersection in Loveland. But while the task force is convinced that the Romero and Jacoby incidents have ties, "we
cannot conclusively say whether [the Connole] shooting is related or not."
More recently, the task force put out a call for information about the driver of a white Ford Explorer seen in the area of the Jacoby shooting — and the response had negative repercussions, according to the letter. Here's an excerpt:
For example, after other methods were unsuccessful at locating the driver of a white Ford Explorer that was in the area around the time of John Jacoby’s shooting, we put out a request for anyone with information on that possible vehicle to contact us. We made it as clear as possible that this driver was not considered a suspect, but just someone we needed to identify and speak with. However, within hours, some media sources began stating that this was our suspect. Because of that, we spoke with several citizens who were scared to call and scared to drive their white Ford Explorers in Northern Colorado because of the reports of that style of vehicle being the suspect vehicle.
This isn't the letter's only example of press criticism. Another passage reads:
We know there are a variety of pundits with varying degrees of experience who are speculating on the case based on what they have read, heard or seen in the media. While the task force doesn’t have all the answers we need yet, we do know definitively that they have monumentally more facts on the cases than those who are publicly speculating. And the task force moves forward from the lessons learned in previous serial shooting cases.
More substantially, the task force members directly address what they describe as "what seems like an unusual series of reports of broken or shattered windows on vehicles throughout the region." To date, however, "we have found no solid evidence that any of these incidents are related to our shootings," they stress, adding, "Not only have we not found physical evidence tying them together, but the circumstances are showing no distinguishable patterns."
They add that the number of shatterings may seem so high because most people who experience something like this on the highway don't report them to police. Instead, they simply head to the repair shop.
The letter is below, followed by much of our previous coverage.
Update, 7:38 a.m. June 17: We've been keeping you up to date about the investigation of three shootings in northern Colorado — the murders of John Jacoby and Bill Connole and the serious wounding of Cori Romero — and their possible connection to a series of window shatterings on roadways in the area. See our previous coverage below.
There's now been another window shattering — and this one may be the closest to the Denver metro area thus far.
No definitive link between the incident and the previous ones has been established at this writing — but investigators are busily looking into the possibility.
At about 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 17, according to the Westminster Police Department, a GMC pickup truck was driving south on Interstate 25 near 144th Avenue when the vehicle's passenger-side window shattered.
At the time, the truck was in the center lane. However, there wasn't a vehicle in the lane next to the truck when the window blew out.
Fortunately, the driver was able to pull over shortly thereafter, and he wasn't injured.
Afterward, the truck was towed to WPD headquarters for processing and analysis.
In addition, Westminster authorities reached out to the task force looking into the shootings/shatterings in northern Colorado since April, and they promise to pass along "any evidence we believe may be related to the incidents."
In the meantime, the WPD is asking "all drivers along the I-25 corridor to remain aware of their surroundings. If you see something that may be out of place or something just doesn't feel right, please contact police immediately."
In addition, anyone with information about this shattering or any of the others being investigated by the task force is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867), which is floating a possible reward of up to $2,000 in the case — and that's in addition to the $20,000 that's already been offered.
Look below to see a Fox31 report about the latest shattering, followed by our previous coverage.
Update, 6:21 a.m. June 10: Last week, we told you about the murder of William "Bill" Connole, who was shot to death near a Loveland street corner late on Wednesday, June 3.
As noted in our previous coverage below, observers immediately wondered if the Connole killing had been committed by the person or persons thought to have slain Windsor's John Jacoby in May and shot Milliken's Cori Romero in the neck in April.
At this writing, a definitive link has yet to be established. However, the federal task force looking into the Jacoby and Romero matters is now confirming that it's investigating the Connole case, too, due to the similarity in circumstances between it and the other two attacks.
Moreover, a task-force unit has been assigned to look into the series of glass shatterings that have happened in northern Colorado in recent months to see if they're also connected to the shootings. They've also doubled the amount of the reward for key information being offered in the case, from $10,000 to $20,000, and put out a call to anyone who might have been in the area where Connole was killed, as well as to the driver of a white SUV seen near the site of the Jacoby homicide.
Here's an excerpt from a release from the Larimer County Sheriff's Office with the details:
The Task Force is interested in talking to anyone who was near the area of E. 1st Street and St. Louis Avenue in Loveland on the night of June 3rd between 10:00 and 11:00 pm. This includes vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic in that area.
The Task Force is also interested in speaking with an individual who was driving a white Ford SUV on May 18th near Weld County Road 72 and Weld County Road 15. The Task Force believes this person may have important witness information for the investigation of the homicide in Windsor.
Task Force Commander Captain Robert Coleman has assigned a unit of the Task Force to continue investigating all reports of shattered vehicle windows in the area. To date, there is no evidence that links these reports to the three cases under investigation by the Task Force.
Also new are a task-force tip line — 970-498-5595 — and e-mail address: email@example.com.
Here's a CBS4 report about the developments, followed by our previous coverage.
Update, 7:25 a.m. June 5: The 65-year-old man slain on a Loveland street late Wednesday night has been identified as William Connole, Jr., known to those close to him as Bill.
He was reportedly killed by a gunshot to the chest.
As his friends, family and loved ones mourn his shocking passing (we offer them our sincere condolences), speculation is rife about a possible connection between Connole's death and other shootings that have taken place in northern Colorado over the past month and a half or so.
Connole is described as a onetime computer-industry worker who had subsequently taken a job at Home Depot.
After surviving cancer, he's said to have enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren and taking nighttime strolls — which may explain why he was near the intersection of East First Street and St. Louis Avenue at around 11 p.m. on Wednesday, June 3.
That's where he was found bleeding from his wound. Despite the efforts of emergency personnel, he couldn't be saved.
Authorities had previously linked the killing of Windsor's John Jacoby and the shooting of Milliken's Cori Romero (she survived being struck in the neck). They have not yet done so in the case of Connole. But investigators will no doubt be examining the bullet that took Connole's life to determine if it can be tied to the previous incidents.
In the meantime, Connole's family has released this statement:
We are shocked and deeply saddened by the sudden and senseless death that occurred late the evening of June 3, 2015.
Bill was a generous, loving and caring father of three, grandfather of six and friend to countless more.
Bill's family asks the media to please respect our need for privacy during this difficult time. We have no further information regarding his murder and refer all subsequent questions to the Loveland Police Department.
Continue to see a report about the latest developments from 7News, followed by our previous coverage.
Update 8:01 a.m. June 4: At about eleven p.m. last night, a 65-year-old was shot and killed in Loveland.
Police aren't saying much so far, but they have confirmed that investigators will be looking for evidence linking it to previous shootings in northern Colorado over the past month and a half or so, including ones that killed Windsor's John Jacoby and seriously wounded Milliken's Cori Romero.
See our previous reporting below for more about Jacoby's death and the Romero shooting.
The latest incident took place late on Wednesday, June 3, near the intersection of East First Street and St. Louis Avenue in Loveland. There area is captured in the following interactive graphic. If you have problems seeing the image, click "View on Google Maps."
Thus far, precious little information has been shared about the specifics of the crime.
As noted by Fox31, police responded to a report of a person bleeding on a sidewalk.
The thus-far unidentified victim didn't respond to emergency medical assistance and was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.
Because the killer used a gun, there should be ballistics evidence available.
While authorities haven't confirmed what led them to conclude that the shooting of Romero on April 23 as she drove on I-25 and the murder of Jacoby, who was slain while riding his bike on County Road 15 on May 18, are linked, the best guess involves the theory that the same weapon was used in both cases.
Look below to see Fox31's piece from Loveland about the latest crime, followed by our previous coverage.
Update, 6:02 a.m. June 2: On May 18, Windsor resident John Jacoby, 47, was found dead on the side of County Road 15.
He'd been shot twice as he was riding his bicycle.
In the immediate wake of this crime, law-enforcement officials were cautious about linking it to a series of at least eight glass shatterings that had victimized a series of drivers in the area — most notably Cori Romero, who was shot in the neck.
Police are still not willing to tie all of these incidents together. However, federal authorities have now confirmed that the Jacoby and Romero shootings are related — and the FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the shooter.
Cori Romero after the shooting.
To date, the feds and police in Windsor haven't revealed what evidence led them to their conclusion about the Romero and Jacoby incidents, but ballistics is the most likely factor. Romero's is the only case other than Jacoby's in which a bullet was recovered — and it's not clear what broke the windshields in the other shatterings.
We've included the FBI poster related to the Jacoby case below — but here's an excerpt from its text:
On May 18, 2015, at approximately 10:15 a.m., 47-year-old John Jacoby was riding his bicycle (with a small trailer attached) north of the town of Windsor, Colorado, on WCR 15 when he was shot two times by an unknown assailant about two miles north of Main Street. He died at the scene shortly thereafter.
Jacoby was well known by locals and was often seen riding his bicycle around town. He worked as a part-time caretaker for the parks and recreation department and also as a bagger at King Soopers grocery.
Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers has also made these incidents a priority. If you have any information about these incidents, you're encouraged to call 800-222-TIPS (8477). In addition, a task force is in place, with members working hard to find the person or persons responsible for injuring Romero, killing Jacoby and terrorizing members of the northern Colorado community.
Here's a CBS4 report about the latest developments, the aforementioned poster and our previous report.
Original post, 5:59 a.m. May 19: Over the past month or so, numerous drivers in northern Colorado have had their windows shattered — and one of them, Cori Romero, was shot in the neck as she motored down Interstate 25 in Larimer County. She survived.
These incidents remain unsolved — and now, John Jacoby, 47, is dead after having been shot twice as he rode his bicycle of County Road 15, south of the County Road 72 intersection on the north side of Windsor, where he lived.
John Jacoby. Additional photos and a video below.
Windsor Beacon Library via the Fort Collins Coloradoan
Police aren't making a connection between this crime and those that preceded it — but plenty of locals are extremely concerned.
As we've reported, the first shattering took place at around 11:15 a.m. on April 21, when the right-passenger window of a Larimer County Sheriff's Office van transporting three inmates was shattered.
The second incident happened around 10 p.m. on April 22. The rear window of a vehicle was shattered near the Loveland intersection of East Eisenhower Boulevard and North Cleveland Avenue.
After that came the Romero shooting. Here's how the incident is described on Romero's GoFundMe page, entitled "Kindness Conquers Crime:"
On April 23rd, Cori was on her way home from a late night shift at work when a car pulled alongside her, shot into her car hitting her in the neck. She was rushed to the hospital and surgery was performed to repair the damage sustained from the shooting. She is now on a long road to recovery and will be unable to work for an indefinite amount of time. Due to this random senseless act, she is now facing an overwhelming financial burden following her recovery at home through no fault of her own.
Then, about noon that same day, April 23, the driver's side window of a vehicle shattered as it traveled on Weld County Road 49 just past WCR 26. And incident five happened around 9:40 a.m. April 28 close to the exit for Larimer County Road 50.
These incidents were followed by shatterings six and seven, which took place between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. on the 29th, both on Interstate 25 — one near mile marker 257, the other in the vicinity of mile marker 276. And earlier this month, the Fort Collins Coloradoan reported an eighth incident near I-25 and Crossroads.
Against this backdrop came word about Jacoby, who 7News notes was a part-time caretaker for the Town of Windsor.
A motorist driving past spotted Jacoby's body at about 10 a.m. yesterday, May 18.
Jacoby was pronounced dead at the scene. He had been shot twice.
Our condolences to Jacoby's friends, family and loved ones.
At this point, there's no definitive tie between the Jacoby slaying and Romero's shooting and the other incidents.
But authorities tell 9News that investigators are looking into possible linkage.
In the meantime, many of those who drive in the area are worried, as is clear from the following 7News report.Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.